Space Foundation Launches Audience with an Astronaut, Free Virtual Educational Series

Space Foundation Launches Audience with an Astronaut, Free Virtual Educational Series

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Sept. 26, 2023 — Space Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem, today announced the virtual educational series Audience with an Astronaut will begin Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023 — one of many events celebrating the kickoff of World Space Week 2023, Oct. 4-10.

The five-part series, co-sponsored by the United States Air Force Academy Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Program, is free and open to anyone nationwide. The programming includes Q&A segments, audience engagement via polls and videos, and STEM hands-on activity lessons. Retired USAF Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey, Dr. Kathryn Thornton and Dr. Kjell Lindgren will be featured.

Series Details:
Speaker: Retired USAF Lt. Col. Duane “Digger” Carey
Date: Wednesday, Oct. 4, 10-11 a.m. MDT
Topic: Back to the Moon
Grade Level: Elementary school (3rd-5th)
Air Force Lieutenant Colonel (Retired) Duane “Digger” Carey, a native of St. Paul, Minnesota, studied aerospace engineering and served for over 22 years in the Air Force. He logged 1,000+ flight hours across 35 different aircraft, earning numerous awards. Joining NASA in 1996, he piloted the Space Shuttle Columbia in 2002 on mission STS-109, repairing the Hubble Space Telescope. During the mission, he spent nearly 11 days in space, circling the Earth 165 times and covering 3.9 million miles. Following this, he worked at Houston Mission Control and played a role in the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster recovery effort.

Speaker: Dr. Kathryn Thornton
Date: Tuesday, Nov. 14, 10-11 a.m. MST
Topic: Space Technologies – Past, Present and Future
Grade Level: Middle and high school (6th-12th)
Dr. Kathryn Thornton holds a bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate in physics from Auburn University and the University of Virginia. Born in Montgomery, Alabama, she joined NASA in 1984, becoming an astronaut in 1985. Dr. Thornton is a veteran of four space flights, including STS-33, STS-49, STS-61 and STS-73, with over 975 hours in space and over 21 hours of extravehicular activity (EVA).

Speaker: Dr. Kjell Lindgren
Date: Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2024, 10-11 a.m. MST
Topic: What’s It Like to Live in Space?
Grade Level: Middle and high school (6th-12th)
Dr. Kjell Lindgren, born in Taipei, Taiwan, joined NASA in 2009. After earning a doctor of medicine degree from the University of Colorado and becoming board certified in emergency medicine, he served as deputy crew surgeon for STS-130 and Expedition 24. In June 2009, he became an astronaut in NASA’s 20th astronaut class. Dr. Lindgren logged 141 days in space during Expedition 44/45, conducted two spacewalks, and contributed to over a hundred scientific experiments. He also commanded NASA’s SpaceX Crew-4 mission, returning on Oct. 14, 2022.

Participants can register at will be two additional Audience with an Astronaut segments this spring. For details on the series, please visit

About Center for Innovation and Educationa

Center for Innovation and Education is a lifelong learning provider for the global space ecosystem, offering workforce development and economic opportunity via Space Commerce Institute and Space Foundation Discovery Center. Serving pre-K-12 and university students, teachers, entrepreneurs, businesses and professionals, programs and resources are delivered in person or online around the globe. Through its Workforce Development Roadmap of programs and resources, Center for Innovation and Education enhances the outlook and opportunities for careers, jobs and business ventures. To learn more about Center for Innovation and Education, visit, and Space Foundation Discovery Center, visit

About Space Foundation

Space Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded in 1983, offering information, education and collaboration for the global space ecosystem. Driven by partnerships, Space Foundation unites the entire spectrum of stakeholders — business, government, education and local communities — through support from corporate members, sponsors, fundraising and grants. Visit Space Foundation at, and follow us on FacebookXInstagramLinkedIn and YouTube.


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Tags: Space Foundation, Center for Innovation and Education, Audience with an Astronaut, virtual series, Duane Digger Carey, Kathryn Kathy Thornton, Kjell Lindgren, space innovation, space ecosystem, technology, space education, STEM, STEM education, USAFA STEM Outreach Program, World Space Week, WSW2023

Media Contacts:

Rich Cooper
Vice President, Strategic Communications & Outreach
Space Foundation
(202) 596-0714
[email protected]

Dottie O’Rourke
TECHMarket Communications
(650) 344-1260
[email protected]